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The Importance of Style


[Men In Suits And Woman Wearing Jacket, United States, 1920s.], Digital ID 817187, New York Public LibraryAlain Lesieutre, in his survey book, The Spirit and Splendour of Art Deco, makes a revealing quote: "Style is the most conspicuous of the mechanisms through which we hope to alter ourselves, to become what we should like to be." Although his subject is the decorative style Art Deco, he is canny enough to see the fundamental relationship of personal style. Later in his book, he notes how styles can be symbols of exclusivity, and how such styles inevitably wax and wane like fashions. Tim Gunn's A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style begins with a discussion of the criteria behind developing personal style. Much of this apparently comes down to "know yourself." 

In the months ahead, I'll be looking at key aspects of decorative style versus personal style, and how they parallel fashions in design. I'll also be investigating a theory that is bubbling away inside me - that much of what we define as modern fashions are truly rooted in the exciting and turbulent decades of the 1920s and 1930s.


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Style as a way to alter

Style as a way to alter oneself. I always ascribed that to the activity of reading. When reading, you "put on" other personalities, modalities, and universes as surely as when you wear articles of clothing. Shopping for clothes is as much a way of exploring changes to oneself as is shopping for reading material. Of course, reading material is cheaper, no?

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